Sinn Féin remains Ireland’s most popular political party, taking a 10 point lead over Fine Gael, according to the Independent/Ireland Thinks nationwide opinion poll. Mary Lou McDonald’s party gained a further 2 points, increasing the party lead to 33%. Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar’s party dropped by 2 points, trailing Sinn Féin by 10 points, with an overall public support of 23%.
Fianna Fáil increased their public support by 2 points, achieving 19% of the public support. However, the Green Party reduced their support by 1 point, leaving the Greens with just 3% of the public support. Social Democrats and Labour both remained on 4% of public support, while People-Before-Profit and Aontú both suffered a 1 point reduction, leaving them on 3% and 2% respectfully.
Although Sinn Féin gained the most popular support, a Sinn Féin led Government didn’t achieve the same level of support. When questioned on their preferred Government option, 38% of respondents supported the current Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party coalition, gaining the most public support. Just 34% of respondents favoured a Sinn Féin led Government.
Those questioned were also asked for their opinion on who they would prefer to be leading the various Government departments. When asked who they would prefer as Minister for Finance, 40% supported Paschal Donohoe, while 36% would prefer Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and 15% would prefer Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath. When asked on the head of the Justice Department, 41% supported Fine Gael Minister Helen McEntee, while 21% would prefer Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny and 17% would prefer Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan.
However, when it came to the Housing Minister, 44% of respondents said they would prefer Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin to be in control, with 33% supporting current Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien. Likewise, 46% of respondents said they are confident in the current Government’s ability to handle the Covid-19 pandemic, with 46% of respondents saying they are not confident, and 8% said they are unsure. When those surveyed were asked if the Government were right to open schools this week, 60% agreed with Governments decision, while 34% were not content with the decision made.
Overall, there is substantial support for the current coalition in place, with the majority of respondents saying they are content with the current FF/FG/Green coalition, rather than a Sinn Féin led Government. Likewise, when it comes to minister support, once again in the Finance and Justice departments the majority of voters favour the current Government ministers.
However, when it came to overall party support, Mary Lou McDonald’s party once again achieved the top position, substantially ahead of Fine Gael. Likewise, there is increased support for Eoin Ó Broin to take control of the Housing portfolio, over current Minister Darragh O’Brien.
Majority of Irish public believe the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be over until at least 2023
Those surveyed were asked when they believe the Covid-19 pandemic will be effectively over. The majority (45%) said they feel it won’t be over until at least 2023, while 17% said they believe it will be over in six months and 12% feel it will be over in one year. 12% were unsure, while 7% said they believe it will be over in three months. Furthermore, 7% believe the pandemic is already over.
When asked if whether the National Public Health Emergency Team should now be disbanded in Ireland, 63% of respondents said they believe NPHET shouldn’t be disbanded, while 26% said it should be disbanded.
People were then asked on their opinion on current Covid-19 restrictions, questioned whether they believe they should all be abolished now. A substantial 73% of respondents said they do not believe all restrictions should be abolished now, while 23% believe all restrictions should be abolished now, and 6% remained unsure.
The poll results come as Cabinet is due to meet next week to assess the current epidemiological situation in the country, and make any further decisions on easing restrictions following obtaining advice from NPHET.
Restrictions on close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases are expected to be eased, particularly for those who have received a booster vaccine. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar posted guidance released by the ECDC this week, which recommended that isolation for fully vaccinated close contacts could be drastically reduced. Varadkar said: “Useful new guidance in from the ECDC. Gives us some options to consider re close contact rules. Further update next week.”
IMAGE – “Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald and Vice President Michelle O’Neill” by Sinn Féin is licensed under CCBY2.0